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The Auburn Tigers look to improve to 2-0 when they play Davidson on Friday in college basketball action. Auburn won its first game and is currently ranked No. 23 in the country. For Davidson, which plays in the Atlantic 10 Conference, it's their first game of the season. These two teams have not played since 1951. The game is part of the Veteran's Classic Tournament on a neutral site. Tipoff is Friday at 6:00 p.m. ET at Alumni Hall in Annapolis, Maryland.
Davidson primed for big yearThe Davidson Wildcats begin their 2019-20 season participating in the Veteran's Classic in Annapolis, Maryland. "It is a very special honor to be able to participate in the Veterans Classic and to do so at the United States Naval Academy," said Davidson head coach Bob McKillop, reported on the Davidson web site. "Playing Auburn University, a Final Four team, makes it even more special."
Davidson is coming off a year where they finished 24-10 overall and 14-4 in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Wildcats fell short of making the NCAA tournament, but did qualify for the NIT. They lost in the first round to Lipscomb. This year they should be even better as they have their five top scorers from last year all returning. The Wildcats will be led by guards Jon Axel Gudmundsson and Kellan Grady, who each averaged 17 points per game last year. Forward Luka Brajkovic, who averaged 11 ppg last year, is also back, along with Luke Frampton, who averaged 10 ppg last year. Guard KiShawn Pritchett, who scored 7 per game last season, is also back.
"We are pleased and excited to welcome Auburn, Davidson and East Carolina to the Veterans Classic," said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis. "On the court, both Auburn and Davidson could be nationally ranked at the time of the game, and East Carolina will provide a great challenge for us as they are a program on the rise in the very competitive American Athletic Conference. The games always help to showcase our continuing efforts to pay tribute to our nation's veterans.
"Off the court, it will be great to once again provide these teams with access to the inner workings of the Naval Academy. They always come away from these tours with an added appreciation for what our student-athletes and the Brigade of Midshipmen as a whole go through with their daily academic, athletic and military endeavors that prepares them to eventually defend our country."
Auburn wins first gameThe Auburn Tigers shocked a lot of people last year by making it to the Final Four as a 5th seed. Their great run started when they won the SEC Tournament. They then went to the NCAA tournament and scored upsets over Kansas, North Carolina, and Kentucky to advance to the final four. In the Final Four, they came within one point of beating eventual national champion Virginia. They finished with a record of 30-10 and had a final national ranking of 14th.
This year the Tigers come into the season ranked No. 23 in the country. They won their first game of the season, beating Georgia Southern 83-74. Samir Doughty led the Tigers with 20 points and 5 rebounds. Austin Wiley added 13 points and 9 rebounds while Danjel Purifoy had 13 points and 5 boards.
Final stats for Auburn-Georgia Southern.— Josh Vitale (@JoshVitale) November 6, 2019
One thing that stands out: Only 16 bench points. Starters dominated the scoring for the Tigers, which might be a theme early as the newcomers get up to speed. pic.twitter.com/ZrqSTtDlR2
"People in the world of college basketball know that you don't scheduleBob McKillop and Davidson because he's too good of a coach and they're too good of a program," said Auburn coach Bruce Pearl, according to the tournament press release. "We built this program on the belief that we want our players to play against the best."
Trends are from Covers.com:
- Wildcats are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Tigers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games.
- Tigers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- Tigers are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 Friday games.
- Tigers are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 vs. Atlantic 10.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Take the Tigers giving up the points. I love the Davidson team. I think they are going to win the Atlantic 10 and surprise a lot of people as the year goes on. If these two teams met later in the year, I might take Davidson. But in this season opener for Davidson, they may be a little rusty playing on a neutral site. Auburn is no slouch, of course. They made the final four last year and will be good again this year. Plus, they have a game under their belt and will be a bit more in sync here in this early season matchup.
Prediction: Auburn -3.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Take the under. Auburn lost some key players from last year's final four team and doesn't have the same type of offense they had a year ago. Davidson only averaged about 70 points per game last year, which ranked 222nd in the country. The Wildcats will likely be a little rusty in this first game. As for Auburn, they looked good in their opener, but they are playing a tougher defensive team here. I expect this game to be a lower scoring affair. The under is 5-1 in the Wildcats last 6 neutral site games and 6-2 in their last 8 games against a team with a winning % above .600.